What is it about?

The influence of characteristic similarity (i.e. similarity in terms of individual characteristics like age, gender, opinions and background) on children's desire to participate in a brand community. Instead of focussing on how an interest to the brand itself influences children's participation desire, findings of this paper show that the characteristics of the child-members will also strongly influence participation. Children will respect the community more so if they perceive the other members to be characteristically similar to themselves, and this will drive participation desire.

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Why is it important?

Most brand community research looks at the relationship between consumers and the brand, however, this research shows that at least for children, the members of the community can significantly impact participation desire. Specifically, children are more likely to desire participation if the members are perceived to be similar to themselves. These results signal to child-oriented brand community managers that they should communicate to children that the members will be similar to them and not just focus on the brand itself.


This article was part of my PhD work, with my co-authors also being my supervisors. The work is one of only a few child-oriented brand community research pieces, but I hope this paper will encourage others to look at the area as well. I also think it is important for researchers and managers of brand communities to think about factors other than the brand itself to drive participation and engagement. As the findings of this research show, the members themselves could be the underlying participation influence.

Margurite Hook
University of Newcastle

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: ‘I'm like you, you're like me, we make a great brand community!’ Similarity and children's brand community participation., Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, January 2020, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.101895.
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